Safer Badgers - Getting started with iOS and Android

The official COVID-19 app for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A screenshot of the Safer Badgers "Get Started" screen.

To download the Safer Badgers app, please visit:

Safer Badgers is compatible with iOS 11 or later and Android 9 or later.

Please check your app store for updates regularly.

Check the Outages site for any in-progress service outages or problems.

New 2021 Spring Safety Measures

From the COVID-19 Response page:

The university has adopted new measures to enhance the safety of the campus community during the 2021 spring semester.

These measures increase the scope and frequency of testing and are linked to access to campus. Proof of recent negative test results will be needed in order to access campus facilities and services. Read multilingual versions of Chancellor Blank's Dec. 11 message to employees.

More information is available about the On-Campus COVID-19 Testing program, including the locations of On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Locations.

Setting up the Safer Badgers app

  1. Open the app.
  2. Tap Get Started.

    safer badgers app homescreen

  3. Tap Sign in and login via your NetID and MFA-Duo. (If you are having issues with Duo, please see: Safer Badgers - App Troubleshooting)

    sign in screen

  4. Review the University Health Services Consent Form, and acknowledge to accept the terms to continue.
    Note: if you're reinstalling the app or installing it on another device, you may not be prompted to review the consent form having done so previously; skip to step 5.
  5. Review the Information Usage Disclosure, and acknowledge to accept the terms to continue. The full text of the Information Usage Disclosure form is here: Safer Badgers - Information Usage Disclosure.
  6. Tap Next or Continue.
  7. Review the consent for COVID-19 features. Toggle Exposure Notifications according to your preference and tap Next.

    Exposure Notifications toggle

    1. If you opted into Exposure Notifications, you'll be prompted to Allow Safer Badgers to access your device's location. Tap While using the app if you want to grant access, otherwise tap Deny.

      grant location services access

    2. You'll now be prompted to Enable device permissions to access all features. Enable Location Services must be toggled on to use Bluetooth exposure notifications. Safer Badgers will never collect your GPS or location-based data.
      enable location services
  8. ! Important! Save your QR code NOW, as described in Safer Badgers - COVID-19 Private Key.


    • Your COVID-19 QR secret code represents the encryption keys used to protect your data in Safer Badgers. Without these keys, your phone will not be able to unlock your test results and reported symptoms, and your building access status will not be updated.
    • Note: if you're reinstalling the app and have previously saved your QR code, Restore your QR code as described in Safer Badgers - COVID-19 Private Key instead.
    • Or, if you're installing the app on a second device, Scan your QR code as described in Safer Badgers - COVID-19 Private Key instead.
    • If you uninstall the app or reinstall the app onto a new device and have NOT saved your QR code, you will lose your testing history and badge color. It is not stored on our servers. We will not be able to retrieve it for you.

We strongly recommend that you save your QR code now.

I've just installed the app and it says my building access is Denied. Why is that?

  • Most users will start with a status of Yellow, Test Required and Building Access Denied until their on-campus test results are delivered. Tests are sent to the app usually in about 20 minutes after the email from University Health Services stating your results are ready.
  • Once the app receives a recent negative test from on-campus testing, your status changes to Green: Recent negative test and Building Access changes to Allowed. 
  • You must have a current negative test to maintain Building Access Allowed status.

If you have already tested prior to installing the app, your test results may take up to 30 minutes after completing on-boarding to be delivered.

If you don't see your test results, see the troubleshooting note "My test results have not arrived on my phone" in the KB document: Safer Badgers - Viewing your Test Results

Troubleshooting issues with the app

Please consult Safer Badgers - App Troubleshooting for further troubleshooting.

Questions about Safer Badgers for Android and iOS

For additional information on using the app, troubleshooting and features, see the Safer Badgers Guide.

For technical issues with the Safer Badgers app, contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Additional Help

For more information on the COVID-19 measures on campus, please see COVID-19 Response.

For more information on Safer Badgers, please see Safer Badgers.

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact the UW-Madison COVID-19 Assistance Line at (608) 262-7777.

See Also: